Wycombe Abbey Computer Scientists visit the National Computer Museum

On Wednesday 26 April, my peers and I travelled to the National Computer Science Museum. After arriving at the museum at 10:00am, we were briefed as to what the plan was for the rest of the day by the museum staff. My group’s first session was an informative talk about the different types of data storage, as well as the evolution of computers and technology over time. We were all intrigued by the rapid development of the computer from the late 17th century to present day. The session was concluded with a fun activity where we worked together as a group to order different pieces of technology from oldest to newest.

The second session of the day was agreed by all to be the most enjoyable. We were taught about the difference between robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) and how it is shaping our future. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about how software such as ChatGPT operates.

After the morning sessions, it was time for some lunch before beginning the final two sessions of the day. My group navigated ourselves around the museum using the iPads we were given and answered questions as we did so. It was a great way to learn about the decryption machines used in the 20th century. Our final session was an interesting talk on Colossus, EDSAC and the WITCH. Colossus is a set of computers developed by British code breakers in the mid-20th century to aid the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher.

It was amazing to see how much detail is put into computers nowadays after seeing it displayed on the exterior of colossus. Overall, I think everyone learnt something new from the trip and personally, I found everything on display at the museum intriguing, giving me something to look at whenever I wasn’t immersed in a session.

At the end, the group had a chance to play some retro games from the 80’s.


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